CliffyB Says FPS Campaigns Take up 75% of The Budget

Steven Bogos

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Jan 17, 2013
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CliffyB Says FPS Campaigns Take up 75% of The Budget

Legendary shooter developer CliffyB says the vast majority of a shooter's budget goes into something people blow over in a weekend.

For better or worse, online, multiplayer only shooters are becoming LawBreakers [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/star%20wars%20battlefront?os=%20star%20wars%20battlefront] also looks like it won't have a singleplayer component (still unconfirmed) and CliffyB has now given us some insight into why this is happening.

"[Singleplayer campaigns] usually cost 75% of the budget," Bleszinski told PC Gamer [http://www.pcgamer.com/cliff-bleszinski-fps-campaigns-often-cost-75-of-the-budget/]. "And you burn through the campaign in a weekend, and then [players] go to multiplayer." In the full interview (to the right), Bleszinski talks a bit more about trends in the shooter genre, and of course his upcoming game.

It certainly makes a lot of sense, especially if the game, like Lawbrkeakers or Blizzard's Overwatch [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/overwatch] are being built from the ground-up to be multiplayer shooters. Why waste so much money on something most gamers will merely regard as a curiosity, if they even bother to play it?

I know in my case I burned through Battlefield 3's campaign in a matter of hours, and when Battlefield 4 rolled around, I didn't even bother to play it. I'd much rather that wasted budget be rolled into making more maps and other content for the multiplayer portion of the game.

Source: PC Gamer [http://www.pcgamer.com/cliff-bleszinski-fps-campaigns-often-cost-75-of-the-budget/]

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Soviet Heavy

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If that is the case, why are developers pushing for multiplayer only experiences, stating they can reallocate the resources to make multiplayer even better? And then we still get a barebones Battlefront despite it having a huge budget.
 

TsunamiWombat

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Shock and horror, the game part of the game takes up 75% of the budget.

Maybe if you put more game in and less overblown moronic set pieces that were expensive and time consuming to make?

PS: Also, Cliffy B? Really? What is this 2006? Shouldn't he be off being irrelevant somewhere?
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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Wait you spend 75% of a multimillion dollar budget on a campaign that gamers easily blow through in a weekend?!
Whatever happened to campaigns that take weeks?! Maybe don't make your campaign piss easy and short?!
 

Xeorm

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On the one hand, I can really see that being the case. Takes a lot of dev time making a good experience like that, compared to making decent maps and mechanics for an online shooter. Lots of work, when you get a shooter experience only by playing the multiplayer.

On the other hand...I don't think any popular shooter of the past would have been nearly as successful without a singleplayer campaign. Especially in terms of longevity of the brand. Maybe some really strong shooters could pull off a long-lasting brand that continually makes money, but I doubt it. Just think of Halo, would people still be playing and buying the series if it didn't have a campaign to give a great bit of context? Or Gears of War? I don't think they'd have been at all memorable without a strong campaign for most people.

Plus, not all time is created equal. I have a lot of fond memories playing shooter campaigns with my brother and friends. The multiplayer is entertaining, but never once has it been the same sort of fun. Fun per time spent is a big number. It's easy to create a potentially fun usage of time, but making it funner for the same time over other games? Incredibly difficult. Gimme singleplayer campaigns any day and I'll keep buying them. Give me multiplayer campaigns and I'll ignore em. Just not fun enough for me to justify playing them.
 
Apr 28, 2008
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Honestly multiplayer only games are fine. Those aren't the problem. We've had them for over a decade. Unreal Tournament, Quake 3, Counter Strike, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress... they're not new. But what those games had are bots. Remember those? Bots let us play the game without having to deal with other people. Or they let us play after the games' communities are dead and gone. Bots are great because then the games will still have value when the servers are shut off.

Bring back bots.

In Battlefronts 1 and 2 those story modes were basically just glorified bot matches. And those were fine. Galactic Conquest was just bot matches. And that was amazing. Bring back bots.

I love Titanfall, but nobody plays it anymore so I can't enjoy it. If it had bots that emulated players I could still play it and have fun.
 

flying_whimsy

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I call bullshit on that. It might be the case for some of the games, but I suspect he's fudging the numbers a bit by counting resources shared between modes as part of the single player budget. Most of the modern games, from their mechanics to their aesthetics, are designed from a multiplayer perspective and then shoe-horned into single player campaigns.

Besides, over half of a game's budget goes to advertising: the AAA industry has stated this repeatedly over the last five or ten years.
 

Lightspeaker

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TsunamiWombat said:
Shock and horror, the game part of the game takes up 75% of the budget.

Maybe if you put more game in and less overblown moronic set pieces that were expensive and time consuming to make?
Pretty much this.

Also:
I know in my case I burned through Battlefield 3's campaign in a matter of hours, and when Battlefield 4 rolled around, I didn't even bother to play it. I'd much rather that wasted budget be rolled into making more maps and other content for the multiplayer portion of the game.
Your problem here is that you're playing Battlefield and expecting a good campaign. Battlefield has literally never sold on the strength of its single-player element. Back in the day if you wanted a good single player experience you went for Medal of Honour or Call of Duty, prior to all the "Modern Warfare" nonsense anyway.


In any case there might be a point here...if not for the fact that vast majority of no-campaign multiplayer shooters over the past couple of years have been extremely barebones. The article quotes Battlefront which got hammered for lack of content and Evolve which got hammered for lack of content AND criticised for a godawful and confusing scheme of different versions. Titanfall is another great example, I like Titanfall a lot and I love how well the gameplay was constructed and balanced but its hard to deny it was thin on the ground for content given how they skimped on any form of campaign. Its pretty much been proven that having no single player campaign doesn't result in more content and maps for the multiplayer, it just means they're able to make it extra-extra-extra shiny.
 

FalloutJack

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So, what you're saying is that you're really bad at making content. Okay. Gotcha. Go to hell.
 

XenoScifi

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If 75% of a budget goes into single player campaigns and you cut that to make an online shooter. Then why are we still paying full price for a game that is only a 1/4 of the budget of a "full" game?

AAA Publisher says "here's $100 million to make a new shooter." Devs says "we only need 25 million of that." Publisher says "that's fine but we are still going to charge $60 AND announce a $60 season pass." Dev says "Yes sir boss man."

AmIright? :)
 

Sniper Team 4

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A single player campaign is a shooter is hardly a "wasted budget" in my book, thank you. Single player in shooters is the ONLY reason I will pick up a shooter. The only time I broke this was for the new Star Wars Battlefront, and that is only because it's Star Wars.
 

Zontar

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Silentpony said:
Whatever happened to campaigns that take weeks?!
Modern Warfare 2 happened. It showed that a 4 hour campaign with cutscenes can sell like nobody's business.

Also I have to call bullshit on the campaigns costing that much of a budget. Most FPS' with a campaign and an online multiplayer have the multiplayer maps just be ripped out of the campaign, to the point you can often even see the area they used their mouse to copy/past it before making a few modifications so it works as a self contained map.

Battlefront is an even more egregious example of this, as they only made 4 maps for Walker Assault and had the "specialize" map for each other game mode be carved out of THOSE maps.
 

SecondPrize

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That's a load of bullshit, considering that Cliffy's design for shooters is an infinite series of shoeboxes laid out in a line. You walk into a room and take cover, locust walk into the room and take cover, you kill them. Then you go to the next room, and the locust come in and you repeat. It's like they send out platoons from the home base perfectly timed to enter every room just after you do. That can't cost more than 87 cents to design.
 

Brian Tams

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Fuck you. If the campaign is taking up 75% of the budget but can be blown through in a matter of hours, then its one hundred percent on the developer for sucking balls at their goddamn jobs. There's no excuse for that much of the budget to be burned on the campaign only to have jack shit to show for it.

Great. I was having an alright day but now I'm so fucking pissed I'm seeing red. This is what's wrong with the game industry today; devs and publishers push the fucking blame on other things without realizing that maybe the game failed because THEY FUCKED UP.
 

Kekkonen1

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Sounds like bullshit! But for my part I don't really care. I prefer single-player campaigns and I'm not going to go looking for that in multiplayer-focused shooters so for my part they can just skip the campaign. Or keep it, I'm not going to be playing it anyway.
But I realise others feel differently so yeah...
 

Dalrien

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It's good we have a bunch of pseudo professionals able to call out bullshit when they see it.
 

The Rogue Wolf

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Soviet Heavy said:
If that is the case, why are developers pushing for multiplayer only experiences, stating they can reallocate the resources to make multiplayer even better? And then we still get a barebones Battlefront despite it having a huge budget.
Because they spent all those savings on graphics!

...what, did you expect them to use it to put more effort into the actual gameplay? Ha ha charade you are!
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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Look at the huge single player games that Bethesda makes for example, maybe the budget on his games are 75% single player. But it does raise an interesting point concerning his single player games. If he is burning 75% on single player content that only lasts 8 hours, then he has no idea what he is doing.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
A good single player game will live "forever." Unless a multiplayer game ends up either being free to play or almost defines its genre then it will die and be forgotten.
 

Voxoid

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Well, time to start scaling back on those brilliant, well thought out, deep, intense singleplayer fps campaigns then... lol